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Old 23-07-2014, 09:44   #1
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The Blue Pearl Sinking

Hi folks, I have been reluctant to post here or even visit this forum for good reason. It seems that armchair critics still rant here on CF, however, having said that, I am making a short video available that we took, minutes before we had to abandon our sinking boat 950 nautical miles from land in a storm that night.

We are very lucky to be alive and we are very grateful that we were properly prepared, did everything right and I guess, got very lucky. A big thank you to ACR/Artex (the EPIRB company), the United States Coast Guard, and the 13 brave men on our rescue ship, The Tilda Kosan.

Whatever caused the aft bulkhead, steering quadrant and rudder post to rip apart and tear a hole in our boat is something I would like to know and I am sure, every sailor out there would like to know.

I truly hope that any contribution I make will go some way to helping us sailors stay safe on the ocean and I hope that every comment made by anyone will try and focus on sensible input. My last wish is for this to deteriorate into an armchair debate. We are devastated by our loss and do not have time nor energy to enter into pointless debates and speculation.

So for those who are interested in an adult approach to considering how and why our boat sank, please feel free to ask questions or provide some input. The video can be seen at this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClm...cQm1grw/videos

There are two videos; one showing the rudder post etc ripping around and another showing the water at an early stage where it was flooding the cabin. Apologies for the dishes lol; two days of storms does not lend itself to dishwashing.
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Old 23-07-2014, 09:58   #2
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

Len, so glad you are OK. I can only imagine the horror of going through this experience. Yes, you were so very lucky with the rescue.

It would be interesting to know how much was due to the damage sustained by the previous owner of the boat. I understand the boat had the rudder replaced both before and after you purchased her.

Hope this hasn't put you off voyaging. Thank you for sharing your experience.
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:02   #3
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

Yikes, what a picture with the rudder quadrant doing a dance. You guys were lucky and its nice that you were rescued in a real timely way. Hope you can get back on your feet ASAP.
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:04   #4
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

Thank you for posting that. Very glad you are safe and sound!!!
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:15   #5
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

Hi Len

Glad to see you back, I managed to follow some of the story in the UK sailing mags, but it's great that you have come back here to share the story.
I'm not able to view the video, due to extremely slow download speed, so I'll have to wait till I get home.

Do you think that the structure was weakened by a previous incident. I know the rudder sheared off some time ago, so I wonder if the two incidents are related. If the rudder had grounded hard, it could well weaken the support structure.
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:20   #6
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

Thanks for posting and do sincerely hope you don't have to put up with to many armchair quarterbacks. I for one really appreciate the opportunity to do accident analysis which I consider a very important learning tool for all.

The video of the rudder post and quadrant flopping around was pretty amazing. Would certainly get my attention to see something like that. Am I correct in assuming that the rudder was on a skeg so supported at the bottom of the rudder post? If so, then obviously something on the bottom end came adrift.

At the risk of becoming an arm chair quarterback myself it's hard to imagine from here any way to repair this or even stop the water inflow to stay afloat to jury rig something to get home.
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:22   #7
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

Bluewaters,
The only thing that could cause the rudder quadrant to gyrate is that the lower rudder tube was somehow destroyed. Without structure around the lower rudder shaft, the rudder has no lateral support. This is also why you were taking on water. I am not familiar with the underbody of your boat, but it must have suffered considerable trauma or the failure of a previously unknown repair. My condolences to you on the loss of your boat and hopes for a quick return to the sea. Respectfully, Rognvald
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:25   #8
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
Len, so glad you are OK. I can only imagine the horror of going through this experience. Yes, you were so very lucky with the rescue.

It would be interesting to know how much was due to the damage sustained by the previous owner of the boat. I understand the boat had the rudder replaced both before and after you purchased her.

Hope this hasn't put you off voyaging. Thank you for sharing your experience.
Thanks Seaworthy Lass. We will never be put off liveaboard cruising. We wish we could get back on the water but unfortunately this has devastated us financially.

I am looking at a material non-disclosure by the broker and am also trying to find out from Beneteau about the history of our boat. He told us there were two previous owners and that it had only been sailed a few weeks every year in the Caribbean. We are now finding out that there was a 3rd owner we didn't know about and that it had been sailed around the Med and then across to the Caribbean.

We have been struggling to get anything out of Beneteau regarding the history of our boat and who it was originally delivered to. I have attached a pic ( and sent this to Beneteau today) of the snapped off rudder post. We had a 50 foot Oceanis. Hull number FR-BEYF5080i607. From this I know it was built in France in September 2006, was a 2007 model and was a fifty footer and I think boat hull number 88.

The pic shows that the rudder post that snapped off has the number 5088 (ours 5080) and has Cyclades enscribed on it, not Oceanis. Beneteau have only conceded that the Cyclades and Oceanis rudders are interchangeable.

If there is anyone who has knowledge of our boat (it was previously known as "Tylosa", regarding any work done/damage etc between 2007-2012 I would be most grateful to hear from them. Work might have been done in Martinique, St martin or anywhere else in the Caribbean. She had a blue hull.

I am not holding my breath on this but if I do come across any material non-disclosure I will start holding my breath.Click image for larger version

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Old 23-07-2014, 10:31   #9
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

Len, thanks for sharing the videos and your post. I wish you and Lisa all the best.
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:33   #10
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

Quote:
Originally Posted by rognvald View Post
Bluewaters,
The only thing that could cause the rudder quadrant to gyrate is that the lower rudder tube was somehow destroyed. Without structure around the lower rudder shaft, the rudder has no lateral support. This is also why you were taking on water. I am not familiar with the underbody of your boat, but it must have suffered considerable trauma or the failure of a previously unknown repair. My condolences to you on the loss of your boat and hopes for a quick return to the sea. Respectfully, Rognvald
Thanks Rognvald. We hauled that boat out 3 times in 9 months (1 for the survey when we bought it). There was no hull damage or any other sign of damage whatsoever. We suspect that a previous owner for whatever reason replaced the rudder with a rudder from a boat whose history was either unknown or was known/had been damaged.
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:34   #11
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

Was the shaft fiberglass with stainless bearings and terminal connections as it appears in the picture?
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:40   #12
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

From you HIN it appears that your hull was either #80 or 81 (5080). Initial hull might have been 5000 then you're 81.
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:42   #13
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Thanks for posting and do sincerely hope you don't have to put up with to many armchair quarterbacks. I for one really appreciate the opportunity to do accident analysis which I consider a very important learning tool for all.

The video of the rudder post and quadrant flopping around was pretty amazing. Would certainly get my attention to see something like that. Am I correct in assuming that the rudder was on a skeg so supported at the bottom of the rudder post? If so, then obviously something on the bottom end came adrift.

At the risk of becoming an arm chair quarterback myself it's hard to imagine from here any way to repair this or even stop the water inflow to stay afloat to jury rig something to get home.
Hi Skipmac, thanks. There was nothing we could do to stop the water coming in. The power of those huge seas and the 40 knot winds created such power with a 6 foot spade rudder it just ripped the hull apart at the back where the rudder post comes through the hull. It was so powerful it is difficult to say what caused what. The aft bulkhead gave way and the steering quadrant cables snapped like a twig; and they were in excellent condition.

Even in flat lake water I believe it would have been a hopeless task. We were 950 nautical miles from the Azores when we went down. Draw a line between Bermuda and the Azores and roughly midway is where we went down. We are very lucky to have survived.
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:44   #14
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

The way that the shelf supporting the upper bearing ripped away from the bulkhead is scary. You can actually see how the shelf ripped right out of the tabbing. I would think that was a very poor bond. Doesn't look like damage, at least in the part I can see, just the shelf separated away from the the tabbing that bonded it to the bulkhead. At least that is what it looks like to me.
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Old 23-07-2014, 10:50   #15
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Re: The Blue Pearl sinking

Len, I am sorry you had this happen. I'm glad you and your crew (pup too) made it to safety.

I can't help in trying to figure out the cause of the structure failure but I do wish to learn what I can. I will say I'm impressed how calm you sounded on the video with the scene you were looking at.

I hope you recover and return to the cruising life soon.
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